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70's Fender PA100?

Messages
833
I stumbled across a Fender PA100 on my local Craigslist for $400. A Google informed me that it is very similar to a Silverface Twin, but very little else. I'm quite fond of Twins of the Silverface Era, as I am a bit of a Jerry Garcia addict. Does anyone here own one? How does it do for classic Fender Cleans, or as a pedal platform? Are there any mods worth doing, equivalent to "Blackfacing" a Silverface Twin? In the situations when cranking it is possible (so, when using an attenuator) how does it distort?
 

Vanyu

Member
Messages
738
Now my skills of reading schematics is laughable, but a quick glance at both shows very little shared DNA in the preamps. Power amps are similar on both, but that appears to be the end of the relationship.

However, that's just from a technical standpoint. It very well could be that the two circuits could have common tonal ground, and since the PA100 is a handwired amp, the possibilities for what this amp could be are limitless.
 
Messages
1,330
I agree with Vanyu - I bought a PA100 once for $400 because I read the same thing online - nope! Power amplifier section is similar but that's it.

Tell you what though, it'd sure be fun to take another stab at owning one, knowing what I know now about modifying old tube amps. Tons of possibilities under that hood!

The reverb didn't even work on mine and each preamp sounded like a dull...well....PA channel ;), so I intensely disliked it at the time....

I stumbled across a Fender PA100 on my local Craigslist for $400. A Google informed me that it is very similar to a Silverface Twin, but very little else. I'm quite fond of Twins of the Silverface Era, as I am a bit of a Jerry Garcia addict. Does anyone here own one? How does it do for classic Fender Cleans, or as a pedal platform? Are there any mods worth doing, equivalent to "Blackfacing" a Silverface Twin? In the situations when cranking it is possible (so, when using an attenuator) how does it distort?
 

vintagelove

Member
Messages
2,814
I stumbled across a Fender PA100 on my local Craigslist for $400. A Google informed me that it is very similar to a Silverface Twin, but very little else. I'm quite fond of Twins of the Silverface Era, as I am a bit of a Jerry Garcia addict. Does anyone here own one? How does it do for classic Fender Cleans, or as a pedal platform? Are there any mods worth doing, equivalent to "Blackfacing" a Silverface Twin? In the situations when cranking it is possible (so, when using an attenuator) how does it distort?


Hello, I have a pa100 I bought as a platform that I intend to gut and rebuild. It has the same great iron as a twin, plenty of room, and tons of controls. It's probably the best deal out there for this purpose.

Stock, it's not bad. Actually a fine jazz amp (a bit softer and warmer than a twin. No crunch without volume just FYI.

If you're handy with a soldering iron, go to town. Not hard to make it pretty close to a twin. Then you have three other channels to play with.


Hope that helps.


P.S. 400 is worth the cost of parts, but I see them go cheaper honestly. 300 is a better deal.
 
Messages
833
Now my skills of reading schematics is laughable, but a quick glance at both shows very little shared DNA in the preamps. Power amps are similar on both, but that appears to be the end of the relationship.

However, that's just from a technical standpoint. It very well could be that the two circuits could have common tonal ground, and since the PA100 is a handwired amp, the possibilities for what this amp could be are limitless.
I'm not great with schematics either, but I'm interested in the potential here. Do you know where I could find the schematic?
 
Messages
833
I agree with Vanyu - I bought a PA100 once for $400 because I read the same thing online - nope! Power amplifier section is similar but that's it.

Tell you what though, it'd sure be fun to take another stab at owning one, knowing what I know now about modifying old tube amps. Tons of possibilities under that hood!

The reverb didn't even work on mine and each preamp sounded like a dull...well....PA channel ;), so I intensely disliked it at the time....
I currently know nothing about modding old tube amps. Do you have any recommendations as to books, websites, or what have you to bring me to a level of competency sufficient to play around with it?
 
Messages
833
Hello, I have a pa100 I bought as a platform that I intend to gut and rebuild. It has the same great iron as a twin, plenty of room, and tons of controls. It's probably the best deal out there for this purpose.

Stock, it's not bad. Actually a fine jazz amp (a bit softer and warmer than a twin. No crunch without volume just FYI.

If you're handy with a soldering iron, go to town. Not hard to make it pretty close to a twin. Then you have three other channels to play with.


Hope that helps.


P.S. 400 is worth the cost of parts, but I see them go cheaper honestly. 300 is a better deal.
I can solder well, but I'm electronically clueless. What tweaks would you make to the individual channel, for Twinification?

I play amps set clean more often than not, and do find the Silverface Twins I've played a tad stiff/cold. Maybe I'd like it as a platform, with an amp in a box pedal in three inputs, and some switcher to go between the sounds. The idea of using a COT 50, Super Six, and Les Lius in one rig has me giggling, and I've surpassed the age where that's a normal response.
 

redchapterjubilee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,379
I owned one for a couple of years. It is certainly a clean platform on a Twin Reverb base but it doesn't really sound like a Twin other than that both are clean amps. The PA100 is darker, less sparkly. The preamp isn't really made for guitar at all so it doesn't behave like a guitar amp. If you google it you'll discover lots of people mod the heck out of these amps with some success.
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
I had one. Bought it for about the same price... maybe 350 actually. Powerful amp, warm-ish tone kind of like many PA amps. Probably due to the tone caps. I felt it might be good for that warm jazz tone.
 

e???

Member
Messages
2,967
Always wanted to grab one to sing out of. I've only used solid state PA heads, so it seems like tubes should sound better, like they make most things sound better
 

Vanyu

Member
Messages
738
I'm not great with schematics either, but I'm interested in the potential here. Do you know where I could find the schematic?
I found them on a google images search. When I get back to my computer, I'll highlight the tone stacks on them. That's the biggest difference. You could easily put a Super Reverb tonestack in and it'd get pretty close to a Twin. This would be a cool amp to put different tone stacks in, say a Bassman on one channel, Twin on another, Marshall on the third, and a Baxandall on the fourth, and maybe a better MV. That'd be a pretty handy amp there.
 
Messages
1,330
I remember jumping the channels together for some interesting sounds too.

Here's some schematics to compare:
Fender PA100:
http://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/pa100.pdf
Blackface Twin:
http://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/twin_reverb_ab763_schem.pdf
Showman/Twin/Quad/Super Six/Vibrosonic:
http://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/twin_reverb_sf_100_schem.pdf
Silverface Ultra Linear Twin (one of my favorite amps - I miss the ones I used to own). Based on my experience with those UL amps (I had 78 UL Twin, a 78 Super Twin 135, and a 79 Bandmaster at 70 watts UL), I might even prefer a 135 watt model:
http://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/twin_reverb_sf_135_schem.pdf
PA135:
http://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/pa135.pdf

All this talk has got me jonesin' for another stab at modding one of these! It was about 7 years ago that I got mine - I really didn't know much about amps at all then. In fact, this may have been my very first vintage amp to own. Toss up between either this one or my 73 Pro Reverb. It's interesting that I really didn't care for either of those amps then. Maybe they were lemons? My tastes changed? Who knows. If I did it again now, I'd set up one channel for Blackface Twin, one channel for some sort of loud obnoxious tone stack lift overdrive, one channel for big reverb control, and maybe the last channel's controls for very tweakable clean boost or maybe very tweakable FX loop. Fun stuff!
 

Fuchsaudio

Member
Messages
7,803
Don't overlook the PA-135 which is the UL version. You can keep it UL or add a choke and mod the supply to a traditional style Fender supply. I've seen them even made switchable. UL/normal/triode/pentode, add a half power switch, lots of potential fun in there and ample room to play.
 
Messages
833
I found them on a google images search. When I get back to my computer, I'll highlight the tone stacks on them. That's the biggest difference. You could easily put a Super Reverb tonestack in and it'd get pretty close to a Twin. This would be a cool amp to put different tone stacks in, say a Bassman on one channel, Twin on another, Marshall on the third, and a Baxandall on the fourth, and maybe a better MV. That'd be a pretty handy amp there.
I do love Supers, Bassmans/JTMs, Plexis, and Baxadalls. It could be like some sort of high headroom Egnater Tweaker! Brilliant scheme, and probably something I could figure out with my fairly minimal knowledge.
 
Messages
833
I remember jumping the channels together for some interesting sounds too.

Here's some schematics to compare:
Fender PA100:
http://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/pa100.pdf
Blackface Twin:
http://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/twin_reverb_ab763_schem.pdf
Showman/Twin/Quad/Super Six/Vibrosonic:
http://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/twin_reverb_sf_100_schem.pdf
Silverface Ultra Linear Twin (one of my favorite amps - I miss the ones I used to own). Based on my experience with those UL amps (I had 78 UL Twin, a 78 Super Twin 135, and a 79 Bandmaster at 70 watts UL), I might even prefer a 135 watt model:
http://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/twin_reverb_sf_135_schem.pdf
PA135:
http://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/pa135.pdf

All this talk has got me jonesin' for another stab at modding one of these! It was about 7 years ago that I got mine - I really didn't know much about amps at all then. In fact, this may have been my very first vintage amp to own. Toss up between either this one or my 73 Pro Reverb. It's interesting that I really didn't care for either of those amps then. Maybe they were lemons? My tastes changed? Who knows. If I did it again now, I'd set up one channel for Blackface Twin, one channel for some sort of loud obnoxious tone stack lift overdrive, one channel for big reverb control, and maybe the last channel's controls for very tweakable clean boost or maybe very tweakable FX loop. Fun stuff!
Thank you much! I'll watch for any threads, if you decide to do something.
 






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